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How to Write Stellar Work Emails



How to Write Stellar Work Emails

Work emails can differentiate between reputable and non-reputable businesses. They represent the first impression that tends to stick for a long time, which should highlight a brand in the best light without appearing like a sales pitch.

The key is to let the recipient know that the author is trustworthy, an expert in the field and most definitely reliable. This feat can be achieved in various ways, depending on the industry, niche and the offer to come in the future.

It is essential that work emails be literate, regardless of the tone of voice. Illiterate messages are bound to send the wrong message and make your emails appear rushed and lighthearted overall.


Scanning vs Reading

The first mistake email writers make is to assume that people will read their message like they read a book. Wrong, as proven on numerous occasions by multiple studies. People tend to scan emails rather than read them.

It is recommended to follow the established routine: a work email should feature an opening line, a concise body, a prompt conclusion, and a suitable closing line, followed by contact information.

Now, even sticking to the best practice will not suffice if you don’t know your audience. Simply sending emails at random hoping that they will appeal to people’s curiosity will not do in most cases. Thorough research is, therefore, the first step.


What Should a Good Work Email Feature?

On top of a proper form, the finest of work emails satisfy a number of criteria, notably the purpose, necessity, and suitability. 

The purpose should make it clear why you are sending the email in the first place. Choose one purpose and stick to it; multiple ones will only serve to make your message unfocused and are likely to confuse the recipient.

Further out, your email should satisfy the necessity. What are the benefits of reading your message for the recipient?

Finally, all work emails absolutely must be suitable. Some information is best communicated via other channels than emails, notably confidential and sensitive information, so have a care.

As mentioned above, the finest of work emails follow a proper form. Appearing professional is customary. Therefore, all emails you send should feature, in order of appearance:

  1. A greeting
  2. A thank-you note
  3. A purpose
  4. Closing remarks
  5. A call to action
  6. A closing line


Subject Lines: the Determining Factor

Subject lines are more important than even the emails that follow them, as it falls upon them to decide the fate of your message. Keeping in mind that an average person has a slew of incoming emails on a daily basis, the decision which ones to bother reading is made upon the subject lines. 

What does make a subject line stellar? Difficult to define, to be sure, but, as ever, it all depends on psychology. A subject line should announce the message in such a way that it will grab the recipient’s attention, and make a promise to solve an immediate need.

Subject lines may also feature keywords, in a similar way that web content does (and for a similar purpose).

It doesn’t end there, though. Remember to follow up with the promise in the body of the text in order to build customers’ trust. 

Finally, since the great majority of emails are being accessed on mobile devices, it is important to mind the word count of your subject lines (three to eight words, in most cases).


The Email Body

Remember the message from the subject line? It is expanded upon in the body of the message, and it should be stated clearly and concisely. A good work email should be consistent in tone and the message.

Emails should be easy to scan (see above). Think of your e-massage in terms of books. They feature white spaces and headings when necessary. If we add to that the fact that most of the emails will be read on mobile devices, it becomes even more important to mind the formatting.

Use the same font through the message! If you wish to underline certain parts of the message, use bolds, italics or underlining, but never capital letters. A mere glance will tell you why the latter isn’t such a good idea:

  • This is a limited-time offer.
  • This is a limited-time offer.
  • This is a limited-time offer.

There is some debate regarding the use of emojis in work emails. While there is no one-size-fits-all rule in this regard, it is advisable to decide based on the tone of your messages and the target audience.

It’s a no brainer, really – common sense should do the trick. I.e., some audiences are known to embrace emojis in everyday use (e.g., younger people and millennials, to an extent), and some brands are known to be entertaining. However, if you sell VIP products to executives, emojis are likely to prove unwelcome. Each to their own.

Now, no matter the tone of voice, emails should be professional. Otherwise, it is okay to use either formal- or semi-formal style. Stay true to your message and building trust and reliability.

Finally, mind mobile users. Don’t attach large images, animated gifs or content that will take ages for your message to load. The same applies to your website (remember calls to action?). The fastest way to wasting a stellar work email is by disregarding simple truths about slow loading times.  


So, Where Do You Start?

That’s plenty of info, without a question, but the art of email (and subject line) composing should not be observed as a cumbersome task. It’s actually quite the contrary!

If you know your audience (and you should!), writing a message that appeals to their senses should not pose a huge problem.   

Make an attempt to deepen the conversation by using a call to action and maintain politeness and professionalism. Over time, correspondents will establish a style of communication that suits both sides, and things will become easier. As always, communication is the key to long-term success – and work emails are no exception whatsoever.


Angela Ash is a professional content writer and editor, with a myriad of experience in all forms of content management, SEO, proofreading, outreach, and social media. She currently works with a boutique agency that offers in-depth SEO analysis, custom SEO strategies, and implementation.